As a photographer I’ve always been intrigued with bikes. Big, small, I love them all. As an owner however, I am a complete and utter failure. If memory serves, I was given my first two wheeler, a red schwinn, at the age of five. Since that time, I’ve had every single one of my bikes sacked, snatched, stolen, swiped or shanghaied.
Despite this life long run of bad luck. I still hold this ancient form of transportation in the highest regard. With lessons learned I find myself remaining grounded giving the soles of my feet the job of getting me to and fro. Regardless of my choice of transportation. I’m still drawn to the eye candy that a road travelled bicycle can bring.
So whenever I come across a sweet looking cycle I make it a point of composing a worthwhile image. One that might detail the bikes history, character or uniqueness. This past weekend I spotted this particular set of wheels outside of a store on Thompson St. in the West Village of Manhattan. I couldn’t help but wonder what treasure that bike’s purse had carried through the years. I’ve promised myself time and time again, that one day I’ll pull together my collection of bicycle portraits, print them up and put them up on the wall. With my luck. They’ll end up getting stolen. Oh well. Such is life.
We had just left a somewhat underwhelming open house for a condo in Park Slope. The growls in our stomachs echoed from the emptiness caused by the morning rush. So with our taste buds crying out for some deep fried comfort food, we began to head towards an old favorite in ” The Chip Shop”. We had just walked a few blocks when suddenly, we heard a crash that was quickly followed by grinding sound. The sound totally caught me off guard. It all happened within a few seconds. Seconds where I could feel my heart stop, pick up and begin racing. Though we had actually witnessed what had just happened. The visual impact and the sound it made felt like two completely separate incidents. The sounds we had just heard was that of a Yogurt truck (I shit you not) hitting a bicyclist, rolling over the bike like a Sherman tank and baking up off it. Looking back, it seemed like one of those freeze frame moments you see in the movies or TV. Yet it all took place in a matter of three or four seconds.
Quickly, I reached for the camera in my bag and managed to get about a half dozen pictures of the truck, it’s license and the driver as he momentarily stopped to peek out from the truck before speeding away. A crowd poured out of the corner restaurant where, just seconds before, they were enjoying their Sunday brunch. The group of onlookers quickly began tending to the just hit bicyclist, speed dialing 911 or just looking on in complete shock. The bicyclist, bruised, slightly bloodied and shaken was soon back on his feet while his former mode of transportation looked more like a sculpture headed to a local art gallery than anything else.
Within a few minutes the police, fire department and local ambulance service arrived, took care of the victim and began taking reports from the still shocked, onlookers. “He just got back in his truck and sped off!!!” “He went that way. He can’t be more than two blocks away,” It was a truck.” “An ice cream truck” “No, it was a pink yogurt truck.” “That shit was pink and it sped away.” Quickly I went to one of the officers and showed him the pictures. At the time I couldn’t zero in close enough to show them the license number but it gave them a good enough look at the truck. Good enough that even the most color blind albino could pick it out of a line up. Still, I made sure to give the officer and the bicyclist my business card and let them know I’d be happy to help with the license plate number once I got home.
As we got home and settled in. I began to check my email. The following is what I received…. “Hi Mr Damion, Today I got hit by a frozen yogurt truck (which I believe to be YOGO). If you can, please help me out, I need more information to catch this guy. My contact number is XXX 888-8888 and you can email me at this address at any time.” Sincerely, Johnny Bicycle” I sent him these images, along with a close up of the trucks license plate. In the end he was very appreciative. It felt good to be able to help out and maybe, just maybe, help bring a happy ending to a very unpleasant experience.